Allison (Trash) writes poems that brim with emotion, sometimes focused and tender, but more often confused and enraged. The subject in this expanded edition of her collection of poems is Allison’s lesbianism. Although she mentions the freedoms denied her and her “sisters,” the poet ultimately seems to care little for furthering peoples’ acceptance of lesbianism. Indeed, she goes so far as to proclaim: “I do not believe anymore in the natural superiority / of the lesbian.” The poet realizes, bitterly, that she has been unable to escape her past. Abused as a child, she seeks dominant lovers who like to play rough: “I have never been able to resist” a woman who “talks mean” and “makes shell-puckered hickey-bite marks.” As a child, the poet’s family was “despised,” her mother called “ no-count, low down, disgusting” for her affairs with various “uncles.” Allison acknowledges that she is her “mama’s daughter,” with “at least as much lust / in her life as pain.” The poet’s imagery is explicit and jarring but her wordplay unpolished. Except for a couple of sentimental love poems, what takes precedence here is a sense of vengeance against all who “hate” her.
Dorothy gives an overview of the book:
Dorothy Allison grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, the first child of a fifteen-year-old unwed mother who worked as a waitress. Now living in Northern California with her partner Alix and her teenage son, Wolf Michael, she describes herself as a feminist, a working class...